Nebraska is coming off a second straight 4-8 season, but had some flashes of excellence in 2018. With a solid recruiting class on the way and the Big Ten West largely up for grabs, could they be a sleeping giant? One Nebraska player certainly thinks so.
In an interview with The Grand Island Independent, Nebraska kicker Barret Pickering asked where the College Football Playoff Semifinals are being held because he believes the Huskers can get there. Pickering also stated that the team looks “10 strides better” than they were last year.
“I just definitely feel like coming off of last year, we’re 10 strides better,” Pickering said. “We’re definitely playing pretty good. I feel like it’ll be a good year.”
As a freshman, Pickering went 14-of-18 on field goals and 40-of-41 on extra points. He is expected to retain the starting job heading into 2019.
The team will be looking to get off to a much better start than last year when they face South Alabama on August 31.
Nebraska started the 2018 season as brutally as a team can, starting 0-6. But the team recovered nicely, four of their last six and taking Ohio State to the limit to finish 4-8 on the season.
Arguably the biggest Nebraska star of the season was freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez, who finished the season with a 64.6-percent completion rate, 2,617 passing yards and 17 touchdowns.
From 1969 to 2016, Nebraska won five national titles and missed bowl eligibility only twice.
But after back-to-back losing seasons, Nebraska clearly has a lot of catching up to do in the NCAA hierarchy. Winning the West Division with a maximum of one loss is imperative, then they’ll need to win the Big Ten title just to be considered for the College Football Playoff.
It’s a tall order. But at least the team appears to have the confidence needed to get it done.